Black History is America’s History: Celebrating Black History Month in Berlin

Dr. Layli Maparyan, the Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and Professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College engaged with diverse youth groups in Berlin on January 27 to discuss the meaning of Black History Month and how it can cultivate social change leadership, not only in the U.S. but also around the world.

“Our differences make us stronger, and everyone has the agency and authority to make a positive difference in the world,“ Dr. Maparyan told a group of young activists who came together at the U.S. Embassy Berlin to discuss how to build cultures of inclusion as part of the Embassy’s celebration of Black History Month.  The diverse group of young leaders, from the Deutschlandstiftung Integration, Zahnräder Netzwerk, JUMA (Young/Muslim/Active), and the Young Transatlantic Initiative, discussed their community projects and the reconciliation methods introduced my Dr. Maparyan during her talk.

Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Berlin, Dr. Maparyan also delivered a scholarly lecture and engaged in a discussion with students and faculty of the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Free University.  Within the framework of a “womanism” praxis, Dr. Maparyan outlined non-oppositional problem solving tools and illustrated how simple, personal acts can create amity and inclusion from the personal all the way up to the institutional level.